Walk through London at this time of year and you'll perhaps notice the parade of bold Union Jacks adorning the streets, the series of extravagantly ornate crowns glittering in the windows of Harrods and certain road restrictions around Pall Mall. In addition to the arrival of the Olympics, there's another occasion not to missed in London. The weekend of June 2nd to 5th will mark the Queen's 60th year on the throne, signaling the event of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
To celebrate, numerous venues around the city have put together exhibitions in Her Majesty's honor, including the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square.
The Queen: Art and Image includes 60 prints, paintings and photographs of the Queen throughout 60 years of her reign. What is interesting about this exhibition is the documentation on how mass media has contributed to shaping the Queen's image throughout the years and the creative liberty artists have taken to express her public image through portraiture. From candid photographs of the young queen laughing, holding her own umbrella and having a cup of tea, to more radical silkscreens by Warhol, we notice the departure from a traditional, elevated image to that of one more ordinary and down-to-earth.
The show includes unseen commissioned works by Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol, Petro Annihoni, Annie Liebowitz, Lucien Freud, Patrick Lichfield and Gerhard Richter.
The Queen: Art and Image at the National Portrait Gallery, WC2 (020 7306 0055, npg.org.uk), runs until October 21. Open Sat-Weds, 10am-6pm; Thurs-Fri, 10am-9pm. Admission £6, concessions available (sponsored by KPMG).